Dr Mario Parra Rodriguez
- +44 (0)131 451 8365
David Brewster Building
Roles and responsibilities
My current teaching responsibilities include delivering the course “Psychological Assessment” which is part of the MSc Programme “Applied Psychology”. I am also mentoring undergraduate students and I plan to offer research projects for 4th year and MSc students.
Enriching our current teaching environment
A teaching environment which offers the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the human brain using state of the art methods is now emerging in Heriot-Watt Psychology. The new Neurophysiology Research Lab will support research projects from students at different careers stages and postdoctoral researchers.
My research focuses on the mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal cognitive ageing. I am interested in those cognitive and behavioural changes that are found in neurodegenerative diseases, with emphasis on Alzheimer’s Disease. I rely on the use of traditional and newly developed neuropsychological tests as well as on other methodologies of cognitive neurosciences such as fMRI and EEG. I am particularly interested in the development of theory-driven assessment methods which can help differentiate normal and abnormal ageing and in doing so, aid in the early detection of dementia. Some key research projects are:
Cognitive markers for Alzheimer's disease
- Short-term memory: A sensitive cognitive marker for Alzheimer's disease?
- Developing a test to improve diagnosis of different forms of dementia
- Tackling cultural barriers in cognitive assessment and early detection of dementias
From 2003 I have also been interested in the cognitive mechanisms underlying violent behaviours. I have kept active collaborations with colleagues from Colombia, Chile, and Argentina with whom we launched the UL-Latin America Brain Connectivity Research Network. This network is aimed at promoting research on the functional architecture of the human brain and its vulnerability to social, biological and environmental aggressors. I am now coordinating these research activities from Heriot-Watt University.
I graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1993 and as a Clinical Neurophysiologist in 1997. I spent 12 years practicing and teaching in clinical settings. During my clinical work I focused on neurophysiological aspects of dementia syndromes and other neurological disorders. Thanks to the support from the European Program ALBAN, I completed my PhD in Psychology at Edinburgh University in 2009. I then held two consecutives Postdoctoral Fellowships; the first postdoc was supported by the Neuroscience Program of Campagnia di San Paolo Foundation, the second postdoc was supported by Alzheimer’s Society. I have been supporting Clinical Research in Scotland as a Research Officer of the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network since 2009. In August 2015 I was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Heriot Watt University. Read more background information.